Local News

OC Human Relations Releases 2021 Hate Crimes Report

The Orange County Human Relations Commission released its annual Hate Crimes Report for the year 2021 on September 15. Here are some excerpts from the report. 

Hate Activity in OC Increased in 2021

-97 reported hate crimes in 2021

-301 reported hate incidents in 2021


What Are Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents?

A hate crime, defined by the California Attorney General, is a crime against a person, group, or property motivated by the victim’s real or perceived protected social group. Bias motivation of a hate crime is when a victim is targeted because of their actual or perceived: disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

A hate incident, defined by the California Department of Justice, is an action or behavior motivated by bias-motivated hate but which, for one or more reasons, is not a crime. The First Amendment allows for hate speech as long as it does not interfere with the civil rights of others. If this type of behavior escalates to threats being made or carried out against a person or property, or becomes an incitement to commit violence, it would be classified as a hate crime.

How the Report is Compiled

The OC Human Relations Commission receives reports from individuals (most often victims) directly, law enforcement, school districts, colleges/universities, and community-based organizations. ADL (AntiDefamation League) and Stop AAPI Hate reported hate activity motivated by antisemitic and antiAsian biases respectively.

Submitting hate crime and hate incident data for this annual report is voluntary. For 2021, 10 municipal police departments shared hate crime data. The OC Sheriff’s Department and University of California, Irvine Police Department also shared hate crime information. Three community organizations (ADL, Stop AAPI Hate, and LGBTQ Center OC) and one municipal police department shared hate incident data.

The voluntary nature of submitting hate crime and incident data has an impact on the consistency of annual report numbers, underreporting, and ability to track and report trends. Reports (and/or disaggregated data) submitted are also confidential, which may have resulted in limited categorical data that has been labeled as “unknown” for the purposes of this Report.

Who Has Been Targeted?

Hate crimes were primarily motivated by the victim’s race/ethnicity/national origin, sexual orientation, and/or religion. More than half of the hate crimes where the race/ethnicity of the victim was known and reported (56%) identified as black, indigenous, person of color (BIPOC).

Hate incidents were also primarily motivated by the same biases–race/ethnicity/national origin (65%) and religion (29%).

More specifically, hate incidents were primarily motivated by anti-Asian/Pacific Islander (51%), antisemitic (26%), and anti-Black (8%) bias.

OCDA Summary of Hate Cases for 2021

In 2021, the OCDA received 39 cases that were directly referred to their office for hate crime consideration or initiated by our office. We filed hate crime charges for 14 of those cases. From 2016-2021, the OCDA saw an increase in the number of hate crimes reported to police.

The OCDA created its Hate Crimes Unit in 2020.

What should I do if I am victimized?

-Call the police or sheriff’s department immediately if it is an emergency or if you are in present danger. 

-Obtain medical attention if needed. Be sure to keep all medical documentation. 

-Leave all evidence in place. Do not touch, remove, and/or clean up anything. 

-Document what happened for evidence by taking photographs and writing down exactly what was said, particularly any words indicating bias, motivation, and other information that may be valuable. Get the name(s), address(es), and phone number(s) of other victims or witnesses.

-If possible, write down a description of the perpetrator and the perpetrator’s vehicle.

-Report the occurrence.

Reports can be made:

-Via phone – Dial 2-1-1 to report bias-motivated hate activity in Orange County

-Via online form – hatecrime.211oc.org

-Via text – Text OCHATEACTIVITY to 898211

-Via email – Email OCHATEACTIVITY@211oc.org with a description of what happened

-Reports can be made in multiple languages, including: English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Farsi, and Vietnamese

“Hate activity has steadily increased in Orange County – 424% increase compared to 10 years ago, and 165% increase compared to 5 years ago. This rise in hate-motivated behavior has not only been seen and felt in our home but it mirrors what is happening across our nation. The unimaginable has already and continues to happen– we’ve lost lives at the hands of hate. The question remains – what are we going to do about it?” Jo-Anne P. Matsuba, Chair of the OC Human Relations Commission stated in the report. “In issuing this report, the Commission remains steadfast in its mission of identifying the root causes of tension and hopes that it sparks curiosity to explore community-focused strategies to eliminate hate. Let us rise from the ashes as one, to rebuild a safe, equitable, resilient, and inclusive Orange County for everyone.”

To read the full report visit www.occommunityservices.org/ochrc.